American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone – a Review

 

AmericanDreamsIn this campaign book Marco Rubio sets out his stall as the unapologetic Reformicon candidate. He writes clearly and with verve about his plans for tax, education, and entitlement reform, if somewhat less clearly about why he should be the one to execute them.

Being something of a Reformicon skeptic, however, I found it hard to get excited. There are the usual anecdotes about “Marge and Homer of Springfield” who have been done down by the system – or, at least, the parts of it he wants to change – and how his (or Mike Lee’s and his, or Paul Ryan’s and his, or Yuval Levin’s and his) policy prescriptions will make things all right again for them and the middle class. If you’ve read the lawnmower book you know the drill. If you’ve read much of Ricochet you also know the usual objections.

(Some of the anecdotes seem rather strange choices. Jennifer, in the first chapter, has failed to reach her American Dream despite going to college and getting a four-year degree in – public administration…)

Would Marco Rubio make a good president? If you think the right thing to do is to save Social Security and Medicare for all time by reaching across the aisle then, sure. If you think the most important thing about a president is his or her instincts on foreign affairs (America must be strong) then, why not? If you think an attractive and articulate spokesman for social conservatism is vital at this trying time in the Republic’s life then, absolutely. Otherwise (and despite my sneaking suspicion Rubio would like to be more radically small-government) you might legitimately conclude there are other candidates out there with a more compelling vision.

This is the third of my campaign book review series, the others being for Ted Cruz’s A Time for Truth, and Carly Fiorina’s Rising to the Challenge. I may have the energy to do another one. What should I read next?

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  1. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Thanks for this.

    I think Rubio is highly likable, and electable. But he is also, clearly, a bit of a lightweight about policy and how the government screws up our lives. Believing Democratic bromides about how the American People just want government to work is a big step in the wrong direction. He has a vision and can transmit it. But I think we all doubt whether he can get from here to there.

    Rubio remains a top choice for me if only because he can win, and will do much less harm than Trump/Bush/Kasich.

    • #1
  2. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    I am not sure the solution to saving Social Security and Medicare is reaching across the aisle.

    • #2
  3. James Madison Member
    James Madison
    @JamesMadison

    I gave up candidate’s books years ago, so thank you for your take. They have to be written carefully given the unforeseen that lurks 18 months out in the middle of a campaign. No one wants their words fed back to them, especially from a pre-campaign book which is now a ritual.

    Your instincts are right: Rubio would downsize in a nice way. Thatcher and Reagan did not reduce government, welfare or deficits. I think Rubio will face the same institutional wall. My belief is Perry’s “turn it over to Texas and the states” approach is best.

    Reaching out may work, doubt it. So I chalk this up to candidate preparation. I feel the same about his proposals. Nice, but not dogma.

    My take is simple: to make any changes, down to the color of the carpet in the cloak room, you have to have 60 seats in the Senate, control the House and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    It can happen if we:

    1. Nominate the right Presidential candidate who can win and hold Senate losses in 2016 to minimum (2016 is a bad year for us).

    2. Hold the House with enough votes to be able to shed a few in order to protect seats from time to time. And,

    3. Win “1600.”

    Follow this up with 2018 when the Senate seats up for election really favor us and you can reach 60 seats in the Senate – and filibuster proof power.

    I look at the math down to precinct levels and this is possible if we blunt the Dems strengths (Presidential year election turnout, young women, minorities, Hispanics) and pump up ours (older women, whites and Independents). The criteria is someone who can be conservative if he has the power to carry it through and who can above all, win.

    I apply the Pennsylvania test: Who can win Pa? If a Republican can do that – and it will require squishiness, then you can expect to win Ohio and Florida. Rubio and to a lesser extent, Kasich can do this. WARNING: Stand back! Jet Wash!

    With two houses of Congress, but no ability to manage the filibuster or overturn a veto, we are dead in the water. And our ineffectiveness is the hell of purgatory. We have to get out of here!

    • #3
  4. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    James Madison:I gave up candidate’s books years ago, so thank you for your take.They have to be written carefully given the unforeseen that lurks 18 months out in the middle of a campaign.No one wants their words fed back to them, especially from a pre-campaign book which is now a ritual.

    Your instincts are right: Rubio would downsize in a nice way.Thatcher and Reagan did not reduce government, welfare or deficits.I think Rubio will face the same institutional wall.My belief is Perry’s “turn it over to Texas and the states” approach is best. …

    I agree. What is interesting is that Perry’s book “Fed Up” is an outstanding work and would serve nicely as a guidebook to a 2016 POTUS candidate. Perry mentions some concepts of it only in passing now.

    I am not insinuating he runs from his book, but he definitely does not embrace it.

    • #4
  5. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    I have no idea if Rubio will make the best president of the current crop of GOP candidates but I absolutely certain that he will be better than whoever the Dems nominate.

    I also believe at this point that he is the most electable of the GOP candidates given that our electorate no longer consists of middle-aged white guys and gals who like to hang out at Ricochet or NRO.

    Let’s face it, most of us were in a huge Ricochet/Fox News bubble in 2012 by thinking that Romney would win.  The bubble had been thoroughly burst and we need to deal with the reality of what America has become – a mix of young people and minorities and LIVS who only read the headlines.

    • #5
  6. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Frozen Chosen:I have no idea if Rubio will make the best president of the current crop of GOP candidates but I absolutely certain that he will be better than whoever the Dems nominate.

    I also believe at this point that he is the most electable of the GOP candidates given that our electorate no longer consists of middle-aged white guys and gals who like to hang out at Ricochet or NRO.

    Let’s face it, most of us were in a huge Ricochet/Fox News bubble in 2012 by thinking that Romney would win. The bubble had been thoroughly burst and we need to deal with the reality of what America has become – a mix of young people and minorities and LIVS who only read the headlines.

    I actually think this thesis is wrong. There is absolutely no way that a Republican with the possible exception of Trump can win the “young people and minorities and LIVS who only read the headlines”. Therefore the only way for the Republican to win is to rack up 65%-75% majorities of the white older vote and run the table in states like OH, PA, IA, WI, MI.

    • #6
  7. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    James Madison: My take is simple: to make any changes, down to the color of the carpet in the cloak room, you have to have 60 seats in the Senate, control the House and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    This is the #1 problem with the Republican establishment. They don’t even want to test this thesis. They just preemptively give in. Maybe if you forced Obama to veto some bills public perception may change on just who is the impediment to change.

    • #7
  8. ParisParamus Inactive
    ParisParamus
    @ParisParamus

    I find the cover of this book a FAIL. Yes, Rubio is cute. But that smile and pose has no gravitas. It’s not Presidential.

    • #8
  9. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Image result for rubio in big chair

    Nice guy, maybe VP, better as Secretary of State to carry Florida, but not ready for the big chair.

    • #9
  10. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Z in MT and Frozen Chosen. Great comments, but thanks to those Avatars I thought it was the same guy commenting on his own comment for a minute.

    • #10
  11. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    I’m a Rubio booster but then again I live in Illinois so by the time it comes to vote in the primary I assume most of the 17 will be gone. If Rubio is still viable to win at that point I will vote for him if not I pray I have a choice other than Trump or Bush.

    My reason for liking Rubio is I think he has a clear vision and sense of foreign policy, at least he has the right instincts. The president has the most leeway and power in foreign affairs, and as we have seen things are getting bad out there. Eight years of Obama have been terrible for us in foreign policy. As bad as he has been domestically in foreign affairs he has been worse. I would rather have two Obamacares rather than all of his foreign policy. The next president needs to be serious about this, and I think Rubio is serious about it.

    Walker is a domestic fight guy, Bush is a blob of centrist grey jelly with family issues, Trump is a maniac, Carson hasn’t thought about it, Rand is his father, but less honest about it, Kasich is the a moderate domestic fight guy, Fiorina is running for VP, everyone else is irrelevant.

    • #11
  12. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Walker is a domestic fight guy, Bush is a blob of centrist grey jelly with family issues, Trump is a maniac, Carson hasn’t thought about it, Rand is his father, but less honest about it, Kasich is the a moderate domestic fight guy, Fiorina is running for VP, everyone else is irrelevant.

    We think alike – that’s why I vote for Kasich/Fiorina with Rubio promised Sec/State. I think all contenders are aware that a real fence and visa controls are non-negotiable with the base now.

    • #12
  13. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Frozen Chosen: Let’s face it, most of us were in a huge Ricochet/Fox News bubble in 2012 by thinking that Romney would win.  The bubble had been thoroughly burst and we need to deal with the reality of what America has become – a mix of young people and minorities and LIVS who only read the headlines.

    This is not true for a sizable portion of active Ricochetti who posted and commented about our concerns. Many of us were on the ABR bandwagon in the primaries (I caucused for Santorum in Colorado, which he won. I know, I know, but he was the last ABR standing). We predicted Romney would have a tough go as the architect of Romneycare (however erroneously attributed as the framework for Obamacare) in an election year all about the role of government in such private matters as health care.

    Romney gave us a bit of a head fake in the first debate, but otherwise the election turned out as we expected, however much we hoped otherwise.

    And, yes, we’re sick to death of being told by Ann Coulter and Mike Murphy about who’s “electable” and who isn’t. Conservatives believe in earned respect. The pundit class has shown itself to be without merit and anyone with their track record of informing us “who’s electable” should be told, “You’re fired!”

    • #13
  14. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    genferei: (Some of the anecdotes seem rather strange choices. Jennifer, in the first chapter, has failed to reach her American Dream despite going to college and getting a four-year degree in – public administration…)

    So maybe the status quo isn’t all bad.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    James Madison: My take is simple: to make any changes, down to the color of the carpet in the cloak room, you have to have 60 seats in the Senate, control the House and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Slight problem here.  I’m pretty sure it’s not allowed for any one person to have all of those offices.  So you have 329 people or so, each with different ideas of what changes they want to make.

    • #15
  16. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Well as a Romney guy in the last primary I must say, I felt I had very little options presented to me. I am man enough to admit Romney was a big let down, and that I was pulled into a false sense of optimism (for which I blame our own Dr. Rahe) about his prospects. But, lets be honest here. Santorum wasn’t going to be better. This year though we have our pick of the litter. While I like Rubio most I am fine with about half of the prospective candidates getting the nomination. I’m quite sure I will have an alternate to Bush or Trump I can believe in.

    Frankly though if this comes down to Bush or Trump I (as an out spoken Trump critic) say we just burn this mother down. Go all in on Trump, and pray he turns out to the the political equivalent of “Spring Time for Hitler”.

    • #16
  17. Vince Guerra Member
    Vince Guerra
    @VinceGuerra

    I’ve always liked Rubio and I think he would make a great president, however I think one glance at the cover of this book reveals scores about the potential of his candidacy. Nothing says boring white guy better than a white guy in boring clothes looking just like your favorite Jr. High School principal. Branding got Obama elected twice. You have to at least understand the game if you plan to beat them at it.

    • #17
  18. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen
    @BrianClendinen

    iWe:Thanks for this.

    I think Rubio is highly likable, and electable. But he is also, clearly, a bit of a lightweight about policy and how the government screws up our lives. Believing Democratic bromides about how the American People just want government to work is a big step in the wrong direction. He has a vision and can transmit it. But I think we all doubt whether he can get from here to there.

    Rubio remains a top choice for me if only because he can win, and will do much less harm than Trump/Bush/Kasich.

    His biggest upside is he has integrity. I actually believe him (by words I like Cruz the best but I don’t trust him). That is why I miss Bush he had a lot of bad policies but was honest and had integrity. He would do what he said, Rubio is like that.

    • #18
  19. BuckeyeSam Inactive
    BuckeyeSam
    @BuckeyeSam

    Amnesty shill. Game over for conservatives and the USA if illegals are inexplicably and undeservedly legalized. Pay taxes? Right. Pay fine? Right. Background check? For what–three DUIs is acceptable?

    Once legalized, they’ll be naturalized within a decade and probably within five years–all with zero assimilation or assimilation provided by hard-left groups as provided in the Rubio-Schumer bill of two years ago.

    No, thanks.

    • #19
  20. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Z in MT:

    Frozen Chosen:I have no idea if Rubio will make the best president of the current crop of GOP candidates but I absolutely certain that he will be better than whoever the Dems nominate.

    I also believe at this point that he is the most electable of the GOP candidates given that our electorate no longer consists of middle-aged white guys and gals who like to hang out at Ricochet or NRO.

    Let’s face it, most of us were in a huge Ricochet/Fox News bubble in 2012 by thinking that Romney would win. The bubble had been thoroughly burst and we need to deal with the reality of what America has become – a mix of young people and minorities and LIVS who only read the headlines.

    I actually think this thesis is wrong. There is absolutely no way that a Republican with the possible exception of Trump can win the “young people and minorities and LIVS who only read the headlines”. Therefore the only way for the Republican to win is to rack up 65%-75% majorities of the white older vote and run the table in states like OH, PA, IA, WI, MI.

    Ain’t gonna happen.  I read a very interesting article about how white older voters who consider themselves conservatives but support the non-conservative Trump because they are worried about losing their benefits such as SS and Medicare.

    The belief that the country is still a majority center-right country is simply wrong.  Things have changed.

    • #20
  21. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Western Chauvinist:

    Frozen Chosen: Let’s face it, most of us were in a huge Ricochet/Fox News bubble in 2012 by thinking that Romney would win. The bubble had been thoroughly burst and we need to deal with the reality of what America has become – a mix of young people and minorities and LIVS who only read the headlines.

    This is not true for a sizable portion of active Ricochetti who posted and commented about our concerns. Many of us were on the ABR bandwagon in the primaries (I caucused for Santorum in Colorado, which he won. I know, I know, but he was the last ABR standing). We predicted Romney would have a tough go as the architect of Romneycare (however erroneously attributed as the framework for Obamacare) in an election year all about the role of government in such private matters as health care.

    Romney gave us a bit of a head fake in the first debate, but otherwise the election turned out as we expected, however much we hoped otherwise.

    And, yes, we’re sick to death of being told by Ann Coulter and Mike Murphy about who’s “electable” and who isn’t. Conservatives believe in earned respect. The pundit class has shown itself to be without merit and anyone with their track record of informing us “who’s electable” should be told, “You’re fired!”

    Sorry to break it to you but all of the other GOP candidates in 2008 would’ve lost as well.

    • #21
  22. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    I just read on Drudge where Rubio has gotten more money out of Silicon Valley than any other candidate, including Hillary.  Those guys know we have to have a candidate who worries about the future, not the past.

    Rubio will appeal to many young people because most of the other candidates are geezers.  He will appeal to some minorities because he is a minority.  He will appeal to some women because he’s easy on the eyes.

    You may not like identity politics because it offends your conservative principles but the people who vote that way don’t give a rat’s butt.

    • #22
  23. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Frozen Chosen:I just read on Drudge where Rubio has gotten more money out of Silicon Valley than any other candidate, including Hillary. Those guys know we have to have a candidate who worries about the future, not the past.

    Rubio will appeal to many young people because most of the other candidates are geezers. He will appeal to some minorities because he is a minority. He will appeal to some women because he’s easy on the eyes.

    You may not like identity politics because it offends your conservative principles but the people who vote than way don’t give a rat’s butt.

    Got it. The same people who told us Romney was the only electable Republican are now telling us it’s Rubio.

    How about we actually let the voters decide? Maybe, you know, actually winning votes is the best indication of one’s electability.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit I heard from my sister, Trink. She and her hubby went into the recent candidate gathering in Columbus, Ohio, huge Rubio fans. Couldn’t wait to hear him speak.

    He had the misfortune of following Cruz. As it turns out, Cruz is much, MUCH better in person than they expected, and made Rubio look like a high schooler running for class president. And it wasn’t just Trink’s reaction. She said the audience roared its approval of Cruz, while the temperature lowered noticeably in the room when Rubio spoke. The audience was just polite.

    • #23
  24. Frozen Chosen Inactive
    Frozen Chosen
    @FrozenChosen

    Western Chauvinist:

    Got it. The same people who told us Romney was the only electable Republican are now telling us it’s Rubio.

    I said that Romney was the most electable, not that he would win for sure.  I’m not alone in feeling that none of the other candidates would’ve done better.

    How about we actually let the voters decide? Maybe, you know, actually winning votes is the best indication of one’s electability.

    Of course the voters will decide – we can’t express our opinions in the meantime?

    Here’s an interesting tidbit I heard from my sister, Trink. She and her hubby went into the recent candidate gathering in Columbus, Ohio, huge Rubio fans. Couldn’t wait to hear him speak.

    He had the misfortune of following Cruz. As it turns out, Cruz is much, MUCH better in person than they expected, and made Rubio look like a high schooler running for class president. And it wasn’t just Trink’s reaction. She said the audience roared its approval of Cruz, while the temperature lowered noticeably in the room when Rubio spoke. The audience was just polite.

    I have no doubt that Cruz appeals to many red meat conservatives – I’m just not convinced that appeal will translate to the electorate as a whole.  But if GOP primary voters nominate him I will support him wholeheartedly!

    • #24
  25. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Frozen Chosen: Sorry to break it to you but all of the other GOP candidates in 2008 would’ve lost as well.

    Some of the others might have campaigned, though.

    • #25
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